I’m a huge fan of illustrated fiction books, they are perfect for newly confident readers allowing them to gain confidence without being overwhelmed by pages of text. Here is my round up of my favourite recent reads all guaranteed to enthral and entertain younger readers. They would make wonderful additions to any primary school library.
Spangles McNasty and the Tunnel of Doom – Steve Webb & Chris Mould
Spangles McNasty is back in a bonkers new adventure as we head back to Bitterly Bay to see what mayhem and madness Steve Webb has in store for us. When wicked Spangles McNasty inherits a rollercoaster called the Tunnel of Doom, he thinks all of his greedy dreams have come true. But soon he realises that it’s a good-for-nothing piece of junk. With the help of his best friend Sausage-face Peter, he come up with a new loopy, gold-grabbing plan. It’s up to local boy Freddie Taylor to Stop Spangles in his tracks! This book is another fantastic, crazy read which is sure to captivate readers with its quirky, eccentric characters who will whip you up into a frenzy and throw you around like the bumpiest of fairground rides. Combined with Chris Mould’s brilliantly humorous illustrations which capture the confusion and sheer hilarity of the story, this book is hugely appealing and entertaining. Who could resist this marvellous, madcap adventure? It is ideally suited for children who love gloriously silly details and horrible baddies. A truly wonderful collaboration which will leave you wanting more!
Swashbuckle Lil and the Jewel Thief – Elli Woollard & Laura Ellen Anderson
Lil, an ordinary schoolgirl by day. But – unknown to her classmates – under her jumper and vest she is in fact a swashbuckling pirate, who spends her weekends travelling the seas with her trusty sidekick, Carrot the parrot. Featuring two new adventures from Lil, The Jewel Thief’ and ‘Party, Me Hearty!‘, this book finds her trying to outwit her arch enemy, the mouldy and smelly Stinkbeard. Lil has to try and thwart his dastardly plans. to steal precious jewels at the museum and to find his hidden stash of gold coins.This brilliantly entertaining read will delight newly independent readers. The words bounce off the pages in bold and hilarious rhymes that make the book a joy to read. Laura’s illustrations are lively and engaging, capturing perfectly Lil’s spirit and energy as she finds herself constantly in trouble, causing much chaos and confusion as she tries to save the day. Elli has created a character who will be widely appealing to children, and the stories have just the right mix of gruesomeness and revoltingness. It is guaranteed to have children laughing out loud as they get caught up in Lil’s adventures.
Cowboy Pug The Dog Who Rode For Glory – Laura James & Églantine Ceulemans
Pug and his faithful companion, Lady Miranda are back for another adventure stuffed full of misunderstanding and mayhem. They’ve saddled up and are going to be cowboys for the day – and after a slight mishap they need to go horse trading. But Pug as ever is not so sure, there might be bandits, but then again there might be candyfloss. Unable to resist the thought of another tasty stack they find themselves unwittingly caught up in a chaos and confusion when they take Horsey to the show. Can Pug take the reins when Lady Miranda lands on the wrong side of the law. An irresistible tale that is sure to delight younger readers featuring the most brilliant, courageous and wonderful dog Pug who has a penchant for finding himself in the most peculiar of places. Églantine’s illustrations are bright, bold and full of humour and energy providing the perfect accompaniment to Laura’s endearing tale.
The Pumpkin Project – Katie Smith & Sarah Jennings
Lottie Parsons never wins anything at school because big-shot Penelope Pembleton-Puce always finds a way to the top, not caring who she tramples on her way to success. Struggling at home with a mother who is more concerned with what level she is trying to complete on Liquorice Legend than the needs of her daughter, Lottie has no option but to care for herself and her family. So when a project is set at school she expects to fail miserably knowing she won’t get any help at home. But help comes in a surprising way when her aging Grandad shares with her his magic formula for growing the world’s biggest vegetables. With the help of a porcupine, a Muzzlescrump machine and twelve jars of Marmite, Lottie and Gramps get to work on growing the BIGGEST pumpkin EVER! Sarah’s illustrations capture the personalities of the characters wonderfully: Penelope’s meaness, Gramp’s enthusiasm and Lottie’s excitement at the possibility of success come shining through. A heart warming tale which highlights the transformative power of love and support. Showing how a child can really bloom given the right environment, a sprinkling of positivity and careful attention just like the pumpkin.
The Silver Unicorn- Jessica Ennis-Hill, Elen Caldecott & Erica-Jane Waters
The first in a magical, exciting series by Jessica Ennis-Hill and Elen Caldecott, ‘The Silver Unicorn’ is an enchanting adventure. What if you had a magic bracelet that gave you the power to talk to animals? One morning Evie gets a special parcel in the post from her Grandma Iris in Jamaica. Inside layers of tissue and colourful ribbons is a beautiful bracelet! And the bracelet isn’t just beautiful…it shows her that there’s magic everywhere, if she can just find out how to use it. With a bit of determination and some help from her friends, Evie’s ready to have some magical adventures! Evie is an incredibly likeable character, a lively and sporty girl, bursting with unstoppable energy and enthusiasm. Erica-Jane highlights this beautifully in her warm and charming illustrations . Wonderfully diverse, we get a real sense of the place where Evie lives, with the use of local colloquialisms which rarely feature in young fiction. A gorgeous story that will be really appealing to younger reads with it’s mix of magic and everyday life.
Thank you to Andersen Press, Bloomsbury and Hodder for sending me copies of these lovely books.